Hannah Boxshall (pictured) is an independent equity release adviser at Equity Release Supermarket
The idea of Wolf of Wall Street style shenanigans and boardrooms full of businessmen have plagued the financial sector for several decades now. “Where are all the women?” you might ask and “Why are nine out of ten financial advisers still male in 2019?”
They are fair questions and unfortunately it isn’t something that has just been set up for Hollywood films or ad campaigns – it is often the reality.
A concerning amount of male bias exists in the financial industry and, as a result, women are deterred from entering the finance sector. This just isn’t good enough. Women shouldn’t have to be “thick-skinned” or “tough” to thrive in the financial sector any more than men – they should just be good at their job.
While there may still be a few lingering concerns about obtaining top jobs and fighting the proverbial “glass ceiling”, there are some equity release companies that recognise that talent and hard work are more important to their business than sticking to the tired models of male bias. This has certainly been the case for me at Equity Release Supermarket (ERS).
Some women may feel cautious about joining the financial sector due to previous stereotypes and clichés. However, these are fast dissipating and there are many women who have long, successful careers.
That’s something I’ve found particularly true since joining Equity Release Supermarket (ERS) two years ago, a career move that was a breath of fresh air.
The company, which has 46 advisers based across the country, believes in recruiting advisers on the quality of their advice and team fit rather than whether they are male or female. As a result they’ve seen an upward trend with more females entering the industry.
Equity Release Supermarket have a strong female influence in their managing structure and everybody is encouraged to succeed, irrespective of gender. I feel empowered working here as it’s given me more confidence than I’ve ever had before.
Their approach to work/life balance is in sharp contrast with the rigid working conditions I’ve faced in previous roles. I feel this approach has helped with both my personal and financial demands of having an energetic four-year-old.
It can sometimes be tricky when you have a young family but the flexibility I have at Equity Release Supermarket has helped me to succeed. Working 9-5 is very structured so I think more women should be attracted to this industry because of the benefits it offers to family life. The company are always supportive in ensuring that my diary runs smoothly alongside ensuring our customers receive great service.
It was this opportunity to work with customers and transform lives that first attracted me to the financial industry after returning to the UK following several years living in France.
I really enjoy seeing the clients and helping them through the process. It is wonderful to know that I have made a difference to someone’s life. Working in equity release is particularly rewarding as it allows me to problem solve and help people, which gives me enormous job satisfaction.
I also love how it’s always evolving due to the ever-changing market. The sector has gone through many changes since Equity Release Supermarket first launched 11 years ago and I believe this constant innovation keeps me, and everyone on our toes.
There is always more to learn as the sector is changing so rapidly and I enjoy learning and developing with the industry. It’s always nice to catch up with my colleagues at Equity Release Supermarket. We all share a passion for equity release and when we come together it’s an opportunity to share our best practices which is an invaluable learning experience.
It’s also been encouraging to see more women joining these ranks and it’s something I hope will continue. I would tell women looking to break into the financial industry to just go for it. There have been many changes to the culture of financial services over the past few years and there is no doubt that women should form part of this ongoing change and help drive the industry forward.